Desiccation crack patterns

    Watch how clay cracks


This movie shows speed-up motion of desiccation cracks in clay and a computer simulation of crack-pattern formation. The displayed window of the clay probe has the size 6.1 x 7.85 cm² (2.4 x 3.1 inches). Here, the material is a bentonite slurry, which, initially, had a thickness of 2 mm (0.08 inches). The drying clay in the video was filmed for 24 hours.

Recording of the clay probe and developing the computational model were both done in 2000 at the Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Heidelberg. This work was part of my Diploma thesis. For an overview, see the website 'Modeling and measurement of crack formation in clay'.
My Diploma thesis is available online for free through the library of the University of Heidelberg. The thesis' title is 'The dynamics of crack patterns in soil induced by desiccation'.